Hello and welcome to the Story Arc, I’ll be your host for the evening: Skeith! Something that every Kingdom Hearts fan has debated over the years is which keyblade design is the best. Most people have a favorite keyblade or even a top 10 favorite keyblades but very few people have decided to formulate their thoughts on every single keyblade in the franchise.
Heck, I bet most of you don’t even know how many keyblades are in this series. I do though, it took a bit of research but today on The Story Arc me and my close ally/co-writer Victiny shall be ranking all 139 Keyblades in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
To make this monumental task as simple as possible me and Victiny split the work 50/50 between us. I shall handle the even number keyblades while he shall handle the odds. We both have our own unique writing styles as well so hopefully you aren’t too confused by the different tones in this article.
This list is long enough without preamble so Ken’s just get into things quickly.
Number 1: Advent Red
Hey, it’s Victiny! The first entry and dead last in the list is the Nintendo Switch version exclusive Keyblade, Advent Red. A weapon that can only be obtained in the cloud version of the game. This keyblade is as uninspired and lazy as the version we got on the console. Truly, no one in history has ever dared to ask the question “What if the kingdom key was colored like a slushee?”. It’s a statement dreamed up by the utterly deranged, one that only the masters at Square Enix could ever see fit for the worst version of the game.
Number 2: Dawn Til Dusk
Skeith here, as we detailed earlier in the article I will be handling all of the even number keyblades in this ranking. While me and Victiny made this list together and agreed we were ranking these only on design expect my parts of this article to have a larger focus on the gameplay aspects of many keyblades as I do have a stronger grasp on that.
The first keyblade that’s been assigned to me is the Dawn Til Dusk keyblade from Kingdom Hearts 3! This keyblade was a reward for players who pre-ordered the game from Amazon in America, and for that reason alone it is at the bottom of our list! The stench of Bezos is all over this thing!
I could just end this section here but there’s actually an interesting story behind this keyblade. See, while it was an Amazon pre-order in America in Japan it was a reward for pre-ordering from another location: 7/11. Yeah, 7/11 as a brand is completely different in Japan than in America as the store has become a shopping staple there with many brands having 7/11 promotions!
Knowing this is a 7/11 Keyblade makes both its name and color scheme make sense as it shares a color scheme with the store and the name from Dawn Til Dusk can be inferred as the hours of 7am and 11pm. If it weren’t for the stench of Bezos that the US marketing permanently attached to this keyblade we may have ranked it higher.
Number 3: Elemental Encoder
Imagine seeing a monochromatic blade in KH3’s roster and thinking it’s an homage to the greatest world in KH2, Timeless River. But no. What you get is Epic Game’s incentive to purchase their version of the game. The day I see Sora fire a Kamehameha in Fortnite is the day i’ll forgive such a bland bonus for the game. Hey, maybe Sora could take some of those crafting skills and build a real raft off of the Destiny Islands. That is, if he doesn’t get downed by Rick Sanchez first.
Number 4: Missing Ache
Oh goodie, I get the honor of talking about the first 358/2 Days Keyblade we’ve got in this ranking. I am going to be blunt here. 358/2 Days has easily the worst Keyblade designs in the franchise.
Because 358/2 Days didn’t add any new Disney worlds any new keyblades introduced in this game had no theme to them and as a result we’ve got an entire batch of very generic looking JRPG weapons that the franchise has forgotten completely. Which is sad because although I don’t like any of these weapons they all have pretty cool names that I would like to be attached to more KH-feeling weapons.
As for Missing Ache itself, what can really be said about it? It’s ugly! The most notable design element of this keyblade are the teeth, which are fashioned to look like the Nobody emblem. However this one cool design element is completely killed by the color scheme! The yellow and black color scheme on a Nobody-themed keyblade just doesn’t look good and drags the whole blade down with it.
Someone at Square must have agreed with me on this as when this Keyblade made a return in Union x, near the end of that game’s life, they changed the color scheme to a black and green that’s much easier on the eyes. Honestly if me and Victiny hadn’t made the rule not to consider every Union x upgrade when ranking these weapons this keyblade could have made it to at least C tier as it just flat out looks better there. That’s all I really have to say about this weapon, so let’s move on!
Number 5: Phantom Green
With your pre-order of KH3 on XBOX you got Phantom Green, a Keyblade that’s a pallet swap of Star Seeker. While it’s not a variant of good ol’ Kingdom Key #1239, It still shows the effort of someone who saw an Xbox once and decided this was the greatest representative of the console. A lack of a Sabre Sword motif or hell, Master Chief on the keychain means that this key is just like the number of people who bought the Xbox version of the game; nonexistent.
Number 6: Midnight Blue
Up 6th on the list we’ve got Midnight Blue from Kingdom Hearts 3! This keyblade was given to players who pre-ordered the game on PS4 and like the other pre-order exclusive keyblades we instantly put it into D-tier because of capitalism.
Like the Phantom Green before it, Midnight Blue is a recolor of the Star Seeker keyblade. The main difference between this keyblade and the Phantom Green is that it’s, well, blue. Another notable feature about it is that it has the Playstation X and O buttons engraved on its hilt, but other than that it’s a real nothing keyblade.
See, the problem with this keyblade and all the other Pre-order keyblades is that they’re really boring recolors of already good looking Keyblades. Why on earth would we put a solid blue version of the Star Seeker anywhere higher than D when we already have a great looking Star Seeker? Why would we not put a black and white version of the Kingdom Key at the bottom of the lost when we already have the Kingdom Key? These recolors just feel pointless in the grand scheme of things.
The one other aspect of these pre-order weapons that’s barely worth mentioning is that each of them has an ability attached to them. However they’re all practically useless abilities that you won’t notice the absence of. Take Midnight Blue’s for example: Blizzard Boost, an ability that lets you do slightly more damage with blizzard spells. Not exactly anything to write home about, so let’s finally put this pre-order blade saga behind us.
Number 7: Circle of Life
The first of the actual Keyblade’s on my end, Circle of Life dutifully represents my favorite part of the Lion King. Which is to say, the part where Simba covers his face in a cool bandage wrap and seeks revenge on those who wronged him in a crime thriller not unlike Akira Kurosawa’s finest. Wait, is that not what happens in the movie? Then why would this keyblade have the ends wrapped in elastic bandages? Instant demote.
Number 8: Rumbling Rose
Next on the list we’ve got another Kingdom Hearts 2 keyblade and the first one they I, Skeith, get to talk about. Putting my personal issues with a lot of KH2 aside I believe it’s main change to keyblades was one of the best decisions this franchise ever made. As KH2 was the first game to tie abilities to keyblades and I absolutely love this change. This one simple feature turns each Keyblade from a typical JRPG weapon where you just equip whichever has the highest stats to a weapon with purpose that can be useful in a ton of niche situations!
Rumbling Rose’s ability, Finishing Plus, is no exception as it allows you to perform another finishing move at the end of a combo! A very useful ability for the point in the game when you receive it.
Unfortunately it’s gameplay niche can only carry this keyblade so far as it is really brought down by its design. This keyblade is pretty ugly, concept wise the idea of a keyblade being based off of Beast’s claw is good but then it has a super harsh transition from the arm shaped blade to the thorny rose hilt that just doesn’t look good.
It’s possible that this keyblade could have been higher on the list if it was the only Beauty and the Beast Keyblade but unfortunately for it we have seen this concept be done better which lands Rumbling Rose as the highest Keyblade of our D-tier!
And that’s the end of our D-tier, folks! Me and Vic were in agreement that there weren’t many “bad” keyblades in the franchise but there was still plenty enough to dedicate a whole tier to them.
Currently this is what our tier list looks like as we make our way to the C-tier keyblades which can be best described as “Meh”
Number 9: Ferris Gear
Hailing from Prankster’s Paradise, Ferris Gear is a keyblade with a large barbers pole with a wheel superglued on the end. Though it gets props for being not another blade from the world of Pinnochio with a whale or wave motif, the design here leaves something to be desired. The clock and gear theme of the weapon has a much darker implication that the world originally had; that time marches onward and to enjoy the innocence of youth while you can. In a roundabout way, perhaps this is really what Pinnochio was about, so maybe it fits.
Number 10: Midnight Roar
Up 10th we’ve got Midnight Roar from Re:Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days! Fair warning, the next batch of keyblades are all going to be from 358/2 Days. Because while they may have barely avoided all being sentenced to D-Rank….it wasn’t by much.
Anyway, Midnight Roar has a very basic design. A black and white color scheme with an orange tinted handle and teeth that look like a jagged fleur-de-lis. If I were to describe what this keyblade makes me think of; It’s as if they wanted to combine a Nightmare Before Christmas color scheme with a keyblade design similar to Kingdom Heart 1’s Lady Luck. However that’s just a feeling as there are no design elements from any design movie on this weapon.
Overall it’s just a very basic, bland keyblade with nothing special about it. Making it fit for the lower end of C-tier.
Number 11: Glimpse of Darkness
The first of the ‘Days’ keyblades on my side, the Glimpse of Darkness is a blade that’s meant to evoke themes of Lexaeus’ grand and blunt object he calls a sword. Points for cool factor in referencing one of the most direct and physically powerful members of the organization, but at the end of the day it’s design philosophy of “keyblades that only bear a passing resemblance to someone you’d seen on your journey” betray it. What you have here is the Aliexpress, or at best, Shien version of the weapon it’s paying homage to.
Number 12: Total Eclipse
There is a point where simplicity actually benefits a keyblade, especially one as lore relevant as this one. While design wise Starlight has nothing to write home about (being a blue hilt with a monotone silver blade), the fact that it acts as the default weapon in the age of fairy tales has some huge implications. Namely that this is the first Keyblade every young wielder gets as a sort of rite of passage. It has the makings of an iconic blade, though its blank slate approach makes it difficult to stack up to the rest of the proceeding Keyblades on this list.
Let’s knock out another 358/2 Keyblade now, up next we’ve got the Total Eclipse Keyblade! I’m really stretching myself thin here trying to talk about all these 358/2 blades at once so please forgive me.
What puts Total Eclipse above several of our other Keyblades so far is that it isn’t just a basic keyblade design but with some unique teeth.
No, the Total Eclipse is much thicker than many of the keyblades in the series before it and invokes design elements of Metal Chocobo from Kingdom Hearts 1 and feels very similar to Terra’s keyblade from later in the series. However, reminding me of other weapons is all this keyblade really has going for it, there’s not about it that really stands out about it other than it has a relatively unique shape and a nice black and orange color scheme.
Number 13: Silent Dirge
Take all the pieces in Glimpse of Darkness’ review and apply them here. Though there is one difference that truly elevates this keyblade beyond its predecessor, it’s purple! At this point, the Lexaeus references are lost when you change the defining colors that made it an allusion to begin with, but I think in this case it works out for the better. Here now, the blade is just bland instead of being a cheap knock off AND bland.
Number 14: Lunar Eclipse
This…this is just a recolor of Total Eclipse from earlier in the list! What could I possibly say about this keyblade that I didn’t say about that one?!
Yeah, 358/2 Days keyblade list is almost double what it should be as there are several recolored duplicates of nearly every keyblade in the game and we decided to include those too because they are technically different keyblades with different names. Honestly this was a dumb decision on our part, but it’s too late to go back now!
Anyway, Lunar Eclipse….yup, it certainly is a recolor of the previous blade I talked about, so just read that part of the ranking again. The only reason it’s any higher than it that I find a purple and black color scheme much more appealing than an orange and black one, so let’s just move on!
Number 15: Abyssal Tide
Abyssal Tide is a Days Keyblade that doesn’t adhere to the familiarity clause of past weapons in this category, but what you have instead is a weapon that excels in air combat to combo the foes to oblivion (no, not that Oblivion. Thought that keyblade absolutely leaves this one in the dust). Simple, a nice shade of blue, and effective, this one is a cut above the rest. Though that’s a bit like being the strongest Shadow heartless in a horde. There’s always room for improvement.
Number 16: Astral Blast
Oh, come on! I get to talk about two recolors in a row?! Astral Blast is just a recolor of the Abyssal Tide keyblade that Victiny just talked about!
Me and Victiny found Astral Blast’s color scheme to be more appealing than Abyssal Tide because rather than a solid blue it is a mix of blue and gold that clash in a satisfying way that gives a real sense that this keyblade is supposed to represent duality in some way, but as that color scheme is the only thing notable about this keyblade let’s just quickly move on and forget about it.
Number 17: Leviathan
Leviathan at least had the virtue of referencing Final Fantasy, here being the namesake of the great sea serpent summonable to cause havoc on foes in said series. Though, decidedly, that awesome of a reference is wasted on such a simple weapon. If they were going to call a basic blue keyblade ‘Leviathan’, they should’ve at least allowed a half finished model of a keyblade into the game and called it ‘Cait Sith’s popularity in the fandom’. At least it would’ve been funnier.
Number 18: Ominous Blight
I’m sorry to tell you this, but we’re only halfway done talking about the 358/2 Days Keyblades. They make up most of our C-tier but the sooner we get them out of the way, the sooner we get to talk about cooler keyblades.
Talking about Ominous Blight here is interesting because we are talking about a bad recolor of a keyblade before we talk about the original. Yes, Ominous Blight is a recolor of a later keyblade called Maverick Flare. While Maverick Flare has a really cool color scheme that invokes Axel, its counterpart here is just lame. Trading in a cool red and orange for a solid yellow that leads into an orange tint just doesn’t work for us.
Shape wise though I have to compliment this keyblade as well as its original version. While it’s nowhere near the best way a keyblade has depicted fire (There are a LOT of fire themed keyblades) it takes a fairly unique approach by having both the blade and the teeth be jagged, I dig it. Not enough to put it higher than C though so let’s move on.
Number 19: Star Cluster
Mortimer Mouse needs YOUR help! His keyblade, Kingdom Key D, just broke and he needs a replacement, stat! What did the powers that be decide to give Mickey as a replacement? A Star Seeker from Spirit Halloween. That’s all Star Cluster is at the end of the day. Like a cartoon character the creators insist was there the whole time, this keyblade has little staying power and recognizability as its predecessor. Hopefully Mickey kept the receipt.
Keyblade 20: Ocean’s Rage
Next up on the list we’ve got Ocean’s Rage from Dream Drop Distance! Since this is the first DDD keyblade that I, Skeith, get to talk about, let me give my thoughts on this game’s keyblades as a whole! Personally, while I think DDD doesn’t have any bad keyblades I don’t think it has many great ones either.
DDD keyblades tend to lean far into their Disney elements in a way that no longer makes them feel like keyblades in my opinion. When it comes to Keyblades I prefer a balance between goofy Disney stuff and actual blade, and while there are some DDD keyblades later down the list that do this great, most of them do not. It doesn’t help that gameplay wise there are only two types of Keyblades in DDD, ones that cause reality shifts often and those that don’t. Quite a boring game, ability wise.
Speaking of one’s that do not: Ocean’s Rage! Ocean’s Rage is a keyblade that Riku receives for completing Monstro and it’s fine I guess. I enjoy the blade itself being a waterspout that leads into a raft a lot because of Riku’s own personal connection to rafts but I find the mouth handle the blade has to be too much for my taste.
Poor Monstro, I find this world to be really overhated by KH fans but now we have put two of its three Keyblades really low on the list. Maybe it’s third will have more luck, let’s move on and see!
Number 21: 0-1
Re:coded didn’t contribute much to the series, new weapon wise. Actually, in terms of Keyblades, it contributed exactly one. 0-1 is just the Kingdom Key hidden behind Reddit’s sensitive content filter, giving it that homely pixelated look and…not much else. Though I do defend Coded to a degree (given the importance of a technological reality in Nomura’s recent advancements in the series), it’s difficult to reason for the existence of this Keyblade. Maybe if there was more original content in the game it would help, but as of now the single representative means we tend to be more critical with what we do have. That is, until Kingdom Hearts Coded 2 comes out.
Number 22: All For One
Up next on the list we’ve got the Three Musketeers keyblade from Dream Drop Distance: All For One! All For One actually has a pretty cool, if very basic design. This is one of few keyblades in the series to not be based off a short sword, rather it is based off a rapier. I wish DDD had KH3’s keyblade transformation mechanic or that this keyblade design returned because although this is a cool aesthetic difference it makes no difference as Sora still swings it the same way. It would have been cool to have a slightly different animation but oh well.
I think what sadly keeps this Keyblade in the C tier for us is the handle of the blade. The idea of the musketeers hat being on the handle is great but the blue wrapping around the entire handle is a bit of an eyesore. I think it would have been better if instead of having the blue wrap around the red feather did both color and texture wise.
Overall, All For One is a pretty decent keyblade design for the five minutes you use it before you complete the Fantasia world in five minutes.
Number 23: Abbadon Plasma
Keeping with the Final Fantasy heritage based Keyblades, Abbadon Plasma is named after the huge insect-like beast that reoccurs in that series. The resemblance though, even something as basic as a bug motif, is missing in action here. The largest amount of cred it gets with me though is that it reminds me how FFVI’s Abbadon design completely whips ass. Otherwise it’s just as bland as the rest of the bunch.
Number 24: Missing Ache….again
So, uh, oops. See when me and Victiny were putting all these keyblades on a tier list we tried our best not to put any keyblade on it twice due to some keyblades receiving multiple designs in UX. For the most part we did a good job but because Missing Ache is a 358/2 blade we didn’t recognize that we put it twice.
Now, you may be asking yourselves “Why don’t you just take it off the list then?” Well that would work if we wrote this in a linear order, but we didn’t. So if I were to remove this blade from the ranking our entire evens and odds system would be ruined and we’d need to scrap the entire article!
So instead of that disaster please just accept that we put two Missing Aches on the tier list and that we think this design was better than the other one.
Number 25: Maverick Flare
The good news here is that Maverick Flare breaks the Days chain by also being present in another game! The bad news is that the game is…Re: Chain of Memories. While this bodes better in a design sense (CoM’s keyblades are more aligned with KH1 ones) it is still two points off what would otherwise be a strong design with some changes. The first of the Axel inspired Keyblades, Maverick Flare feels more like a beta of some much better designs on this list, which in a way is useful as it’s a blueprint for a good chunk of designs in the series. The blade itself though just leaves too much to be desired.
Number 26: Twilight Blaze
358/2 Days weapon design team was a cruel mistress who decides that I should be forced to talk about several recolors of other keyblades. I will never forgive these weapons.
Twilight Blaze is a color of Abaddon Plasma and it’s a better design in our opinion. The red and black color scheme is just more appealing to the eye than a yellow and black color scheme.
The teeth of this keyblade looks a little like the Nobody emblem which would be fun to point out if not for there being a myriad of keyblades with this same ensignia.
Number 27: Jungle King
Tarzan is such an enigma in the franchise. The invisible boss gimmick, poor platforming sections (not uncommon for KH1) and the most damning evidence, the fact that it never appeared again in the series always give it an air of mystery. This particular Keyblade, like the world it was based on, never appeared again, and its really not terribly missed. Nothing about it really screams ‘Tarzan’ but rather just a generic ‘wildness’ based world. Not even the infamous vines appear anywhere on the weapon, which is a titanic missed opportunity when it came to theming this one. At least the butterfly on the keychain is the same one that covered the keyhole at the end of the world. Sorry, Tarzan fandom. That’s all you’re going to get from the series for the foreseeable future.
Number 28: The Pain of Solitude
The next keyblade on our list is Pain of Solitude and it makes me want to scream! This keyblade is a recolor of Missing Ache, a keyblade we have already had to talk about TWICE!
I will say that I like this keyblade’s color scheme more than Missing Ache as I am a walking stereotype who loves the color pink.
What do you want me to say about this keyblade? I have already talked about Missing Ache TWICE! I have nothing else to say about it, let’s just move on please!
Number 29: Spellbinder
Imagine gaining complete mastery of magic in Kingdom Hearts 1 and hearing of a bonus you gain from Merlin once this is done. You march right over to his little troll cave in the dark crevices of Traverse Town and he grants you…a foam cosplay Keyblade. I honestly thought this was a Tron based blade when I first saw it on the list, and at a glance I still make that mistake. While barely indicative of the grand feat of spell proficiency in the game, at least you get a prize that highlights magic usage for any future fights. Plus the Japanese name, Examination, goes incredibly hard for an optional keyblade.
Number 30: Fairy Harp
I, Skeith, finally get to talk about a keyblade from my favorite Kingdom Hearts game! Kingdom Hearts 1 keyblades are very unique in that every one of them looks like a key. In every future game designs had to become more weapon-like, and while as a whole I think the design philosophy of future games is better, the uniqueness of KH1 blades cannot be replaced.
Anyway, Fairy Harp is pretty eh. It has some pretty cool qualities like making Peter’s pan flute the teeth of the blade and having Tinkerbell’s wings on the handle, but as a whole it isn’t anything special. Gameplay wise it has a very shorts length and in general I don’t really jive with the shorter keyblades so I usually end up using something like Metal Chocobo for Hollow Bastion as opposed to this blade.
Yeah, not much to talk about here but nothing particularly bad about it either. Making it perfect for C-tier.
Number 31: Crown of Guilt
At the very least, some Days keyblades have the decency to be a bit more intricate that just an AI generated blade that most of the games weapon pool seems to stem from. Crown of Guilt is the Hot Topic, Invader Zim loving Keyblade of the bunch, being black and pink with sharp spades that act as the teeth. The name as well seems to be referencing real life christianity, which is unusually punk for such a random Keyblade. Hey Days, maybe you’re not so bad sometimes.
Number 32: Three Wishes
Up next we’ve got another KH1 Keyblade: Agrabah’s Three Wishes! Out of the Disney keyblades in KH1 this is the first one that actually looks cool, to be fair though there isn’t much competition as the only one you get before it is Jungle King.
With a slick, rounded design that almost makes you want to rub it and a cool yellow and blue color scheme this Keyblade perfectly invokes Aladdin’s lamp!
Three Wishes is a very simplistic blade with a particular goal in mind and it accomplishes it perfectly. The only reason it’s in higher C-tier and not B-tier is because me and Victiny prefer more complex designed keyblades for the Disney worlds. All in all though, Three Wishes is pretty good!
Number 33: Starlight
Number 34: Mysterious Abyss
Next on the list we’ve got a Keyblade that I guarantee none of you reading this have ever used! This keyblade comes from KH2’s Atlantic and by the time you’ve gotten every spell you need to clear Atlantica you’ve likely got an entire pile of better keyblades to use!
The ability that this keyblade grants isn’t anything to write home about either, it’s just a Blizzard Boost to increase your Blizzard spell damage. An ability so situational that I struggle to think of when you would want to use it.
Design wise though, this keyblade is pretty okay! The blade slowly transitioning into the teeth with a whirlpool of water is a pretty good idea and having a seashell on the Keychain is pretty fun. Unfortunately though there are just better Little Mermaid keyblades in the series so this keyblade only makes our C-tier.
Number 35: Follow the Wind
Follow the Wind is the prize of completing the Pirates of the Caribbean world in KH2. It is also a Neverland proxy in Chain of Memories for some reason. I find this funny since, in this way, it almost acted as a “teaser” for the Pirates world in the sequel that came out a few years later. Though the Keyblade itself has such a simple and borderline generic pirate motif that it fits into both worlds with ease. A quick hot glue of the medallion keychain later, and bam! A Keyblade that represents a new Disney franchise entirely.
Number 36: Wheel of Fate
Somehow, I, Skeith, haven’t gotten the chance to talk about a non-preorder Kingdom Hearts 3 until now! Overall I think that KH3’s keyblade designs are really good. Each of the Disney world keyblades represent their movies well and the addition of form changes adds an entire layer of design to them. Remember how I wished All For One had different animations that fit its design? Well each KH3 Keyblade does that by having Sora use each Keyblade in a new way with their form changes!
Wheel of Fate’s form change is particularly cool, Sora changes the keyblade into a large flag and swipes at enemies with it as water comes from the ground! I really wish we put this keyblade into B-tier but I was outvoted.
Which brings us to the reason this keyblade is only C-tier. While the keyblade’s form change is amazing, its base form isn’t anything to write home about. It has some cool elements like having the wheel of a ship be the teeth and having the blade itself be a mast but nothing to write home about.
I may disagree with its placement but I understand why we put it here, so let’s move on.
Number 37: Divewing
On completing every Dive mission in Dream Drop Distance, the player is rewarded with the Divewing, a Keyblade that makes a name for itself in magic proficiency and crit rate. Though free keyblades that will inevitably be powercrept by the next ones are nice bonuses, the most driving factor in this one’s low placement is the lack of creativity along the edge. Aside from the placement of the orange and blue swishes acting as teeth, at the end of the day the Keyblade is just a sword. I understand that shared Keyblades in this game between the two protagonists needed to be somewhat generic from a design standpoint, but that doesn’t account for the lack of detail we’d come to expect 10 years into the franchise’ runtime.
Number 38: Rejection of Fate
Oh my God yes, another 358/2 Keyblade for you all. This one is known as Rejection of Fate! It’s one of the more slick designed 358 keyblades but honestly this game is just burning me out.
The design is yet another keyblade that appears to invoke the Nobody symbol but the almost metallic coloring makes it feel even more inhuman than the other Nobody keyblades, I kinda dig it.
But I don’t dig it enough to put it any higher than this.
Number 39: Missing Ache
To be completely honest, there exists so many variations of certain blades within the series (such as the upgrades in X) that it’s easy to conflate two Keyblades as one and rank the amalgamate higher as a result. This is exactly what happened here. 358’s Keys have direct improvements elsewhere that it seems as though Missing Ache had a bright future in placement on our list. Though at its core the detrimentally simple yellow and black color scheme and lack of defining characteristics hurt more than they could possibly aid. Yet another casualty in the Days auto-generated Keyblade design machine.
And with that we’re finally done with our C-tier! Me and Victiny both had a lot of trouble writing that entire tier because almost the entirety of 358/2’s weapons are in it! We nearly burned out a few times but we pushed through!
Now we get to move on to new horizons, the B-tiers! This is where Keyblades start being definitively good. Before we continue though here is a look at our tier list with the C-Tiers included.
Number 40: Pixie Petal
Up 40th in our ranking is Pixie Petal from Birth By Sleep. The fact that we got all the way to the B-tiers before talking about a single BBS keyblade should tell you all you need to know about this game’s keyblades. The weapon designer for Birth By Sleep brought their A-game and gave us some of the coolest and most iconic blades in the series. Even Pixie Petal, which we have decided is the worst blade in BBS, is good enough for our B-tier.
The Pixie Petal’s design is a really clever concept that is executed well. The blade of the weapon is made to look like a vine that is growing in several different directions before it reaches the teeth of the keyblade which look like flower bulbs! Combine it with a handle that looks like the stem of a flower and you’ve got one of the best naturalistic looking Keyblades in the series!
I hope that me having nothing but praise for Pixie Petal gives you a good idea of what the rest of this tier list is going to look like. No longer will I be talking about the downsides of keyblades, but rather what makes them great. Keyblades from here on out aren’t placed where they are because of any negative traits but rather because some keyblades just have more positive traits than others.
Number 41: Mark of a Hero
Olympus is one of those worlds that’s been featured in the series so many times, at a certain point the design philosophy either needs to be extreme basics, or unrecognizably complicated that it becomes almost disconnected from the world it was based on. Birth by Sleep’s Mark of a Hero is the former. In a way, the simple design reflects the very beginning of Herc’s journey (like that time he met Zack Fair). We feel there is such a thing as “underdesigned” though, and that’s exactly what happened here. Points for the little muscles on the clouds though.
Number 42: Stroke of Midnight
This keyblade may have been one of the most important tasks given to the Kingdom Hearts design team. Cinderella’s castle is one of Disney’s most iconic memorabilia; It’s at the start of each Disney movie even! So it is very important that they make this Disney keyblade look as good as they can.
And the end result is…pretty good, if a bit safe. The keyblade is basically just the castle itself with the blade being a particularly long tower that stretches far into the teeth which I think are supposed to be sparkles.
There’s nothing wrong with this keyblade, it looks quite good in fact, I just wish they took more risks with it. Though one pretty obvious thing they should have done is that instead of making the teeth a snowflake shaped sparkle they should have made it a firework in reference to the Disney logo!
All in all, a pretty good keyblade that belongs in the lower B-tier.
Number 43: Knockout Punch
Very few Keyblades are influenced directly by the boss that fought them. Dream Drop Distance’ Knockout Punch is one of them. It’s as if they took the gigantic monkey you fight in traverse town and made him the worst sin of all; marketable. The bright colors may lend to the game’s dreamy atmosphere, but at least most of the other Keyblades in the game have the decency to be more subtle.
Number 44: Starlight (Final form)
Next up on the list we’ve got the Starlight Keyblade! Starlight is an interesting keyblade as I consider it to be the one true successor to the Kingdom Key gameplay wise. Sure there may be other keyblades in the series that look closer to the Kingdom Key but none of them serve the purpose of being the very first keyblade our protagonist gets before replacing it with other ones.
To that end, I think Starlight is only okay compared to its more iconic predecessor. I cannot put my finger on it as I think the hilt, blade, and teeth of this keyblade all look fine. I guess that’s its main issue. Unlike other super key-like blades in the series which I think look really good I just think Starlight is only okay.
Maybe oversaturation is part of it too as we have seen dozens upon dozens of keyblade wielders using Starlight throughout UX, Dark Road, and soon Missing Link! It’s a baby’s first keyblade at this point.
Overall, a fine keyblade that belongs in B-tier but sadly misses out on a higher position.
Number 45: Fairy Stars
Fairy Stars is a Keyblade featured in BBS and Union X, directly based on those three color wielding fairies we’ve come to know and love. While the design is fair, It becomes a bit uninspired when you realize the only real contribution to the series Flora, Fauna and Merryweather have had is bicker and slightly adjust a color wheel on Sora’s outfit. Fine, maybe they had a hand in protecting Aurora in their home world, but beyond that where were they during the fall of the Destiny Islands? During the Organization harvesting hearts for the sake of darkness? Messing with MS Paint, that’s all they were doing.
Number 46: Darker Than Dark
Next up in 358 hell we’ve got a keyblade with a really cool name and a very generic design: Darker Than Dark!
Just like so, so many keyblades we’ve talked about so far this keyblade’s teeth take a shape very similar to the Nobody emblem and I’m starting to get really tired of typing that sentence!
Kingdom Hearts is a franchise full of some of the most unique designs in gaming so why do we have so many weapons in the same game that all follow the same design motif! This is a disgrace!
Number 47: Rainfell
Wielded by Master Aqua over the course of the series, Rainfell is a dull blue Keyblade that highlights proficiency in magic, which pairs well with Aqua’s own innate abilities. The blade itself though is nothing to write home about. Though the name and aesthetic technically fits Aqua, the keyblade that comes later is more relevant to her as a person, and thus this one seems a bit too basic to rank any higher. We do love our Aqua here at Story Arc, so that’s why such a tame keyblade is relatively high.
Number 48: Treasure Trove
Next up on my list we’ve got the Treasure Trove Keyblade! Treasure Trove is the keyblade of Birth By Sleep’s Snow White world, and it is with great joy that I say, the weapon designers decided to base this keyblade off of the mines the seven dwarfs work in.
This keyblade design is so good, even if there’s nothing “key” about it. At the bottom of the handle we’ve got a bunch of jewels that lead up a minecart. This minecart then leads into the blade, which is a row of minecart tracks, and then finally into the teeth; a pickaxe!
This keyblade takes your through an entire mine with its design and is exactly what I want in my Disney world keyblade designs. Flashy, silly, and fun to examine. Truly worthy of its placement in B-tier.
Number 49: Unbound
Completing every secret portal in DDD nets you Unbound, and it’s…a keyblade all right. While powerful on it’s own right, it quickly becomes inferior to that game’s Ultima or End of Pain. As you’ve likely beaten the game already to nab this one, the need for a mid tier Keyblade with obvious upgrades becomes slim. As is such, poor Unbound gets left in the dust in many playthroughs. At least the green of the Keyblade’s teeth looks refreshing.
Number 50: True Light’s Flight
Woah, this is one of the coolest keyblade names in the series! I wonder what it looks….like….
This is just a recolor of Darker Than Dark. There is absolutely nothing to say about it. I want it out of my sight this instant.
Number 51: Omega Weapon
The return of 358/2 Days’ Keyblades! Being this games version of Ultima, it at least has the grace of being a powerful weapon in the postgame. Unlike, well, any other Ultima in history though, it’s missing the most important aspect in the entire series; heart. Whereas other Final Key’s in the games have a slick white design with other color elements that compliment the overall story, this one ends up being a generic, somewhat spikier yellow sword. In fact, we didn’t even realize this was supposed to be the Ultima stand in for this game. For shame, Omega. For shame.
Number 52: Shooting Star
Next on the list we’ve got Shooting Star: the first Keyblade revealed for Kingdom Hearts 3! Because this keyblade is supposed to be an introduction to both how keyblades would be designed in KH3 and to form changes in general this keyblade’s design is supposed to be very basic.
However even though it is basic compared to 3’s other keyblades I still think this keyblade looks really good. It has a very unique design with a blade that curves inward and then outward to the point where even the teeth are a full circle! Something only one other keyblade in the series had done!
The keyblade’s form change is also pretty cool and simplistic. It transforms into two guns that Sora can use to rapidly shoot stars at enemies for a brief period of time. While this may be my least favorite Keyblade transformation it leaves a very good first impression.
Overall a very good keyblade for Kingdom Hearts 3 to start off with.
Number 53: Victory Line
Does the prospect of knocking heartless out cold with an entire building sound like a fun prospect with you? What if the tower had huge key turner embedded in the head to turn it from a blunt object into lethal force? That’s exactly what Victory Line is. Received after completing the Disney world, there must be something wrong with Mickey Mouse to design such an innocent looking design to be used as an actual weapon. Though knowing how, in the KH universe, you might be swarmed with Shadow Heartless on a trip to the grocery store, perhaps it was for the best.
Number 54: Darkgnaw
Up next we’ve got another Birth By Sleep keyblade for all of you: the Darkgnaw keyblade! Darkgnaw is an optional keyblade that Terra can receive from one of the first Mirage Arena matches.
Birth By Sleep actually has a lot of optional keyblades compared to other games in the series as not only does the Arena give you several but also every one of the game’s superbosses give one as well. I believe only KH1 comes close to it in terms of optional weapons.
Anyway, the Darkgnaw itself. It’s a pretty good keyblade that gives off the look of a growing evil well. The teeth of the blade resemble the teeth of a beast and give the blade its name, a pretty good concept for a keyblade.
Unfortunately for the Darkgnaw though, even though it looks pretty good there are just many, many other keyblades that represent darkness better than it. So it only goes in B-tier.
Number 55: Happy Gear
One of the more recent Keyblades hailing from KH3’s Monstropolis world, Happy Gear trades the fuzzy and colorful appearance of your average monster in for cold, unfeeling metal. Instead of feeling like the terrifying but playful monster inhabitants of this world, this Keyblade makes me feel like I’m on a 12 hour shift at my local Monster Amazon warehouse. Not the scare they were going for here.
Number 56: Earthshaker
Our first male protagonist keyblade in the list! Earthshaker is the starting keyblade belonging to Terra from Birth By Sleep. With a name like Earthshaker and a wielder named Terra it isn’t too hard to deduce what element this keyblade wishes to invoke.
When it comes to the canon keyblades of main characters I, Skeith, will personally be judging them on how well they represent their personalities. Which I think Earthshaker does perfectly.
Terra isn’t a big thinker, you could even call him a himbo, so having his keyblade essentially be a giant club that he can smack people around with is an excellent idea. However, I’m only placing it in B-tier. Why? Continue reading and the answer will eventually be clear.
Number 57: Stormfall
The second incarnation and direct evolution of Rainfell, this keyblade better define’s Aqua’s character arc and represents how she grows as a person over the course of the story. Now a completed whole, the teeth of this blade represent Aqua’s resolve in saving her friends and the three of them reuniting once more. The main reason both of these blades are so low though would be how muted and generally uninteresting the color scheme of the blade is, a holdover from it’s past life as Rainfell. Had the color scheme evolved with Aqua, this would be a different story.
Number 58: Hero’s Crest
Next on the list we’ve got our second Olympus Coliseum keyblade: Hero’s Crest from Kingdom Hearts 2!
Hero’s Crest is very similar to the Mark of a Hero keyblade from earlier in the list. However unlike that keyblade which was a single pillar leading into trophy shaped teeth, this keyblade’s handle and blade are all made up of several pillars as if the keyblade is a coliseum itself!
The ability that Hero’s Crest comes with: Air Combo Boost is also perfectly timed for when you get it. Air combat was much more of a thing in KH2 compared to 1 and the fight against the Hydra right before obtaining this keyblade shows that in spades. So giving players an ability that increases air combo damage right after a fight like that makes it appear even more useful.
The weakest part of this keyblade for me is the teeth. Apparently they’re supposed to resemble a star in reference to the Hercules constellation in Olympus but honestly I don’t see it. To me it just looks like some spikes and thus dooming Hero’s Crest to only being our 4th best Olympus keyblade.
Number 59: Gull Wing
As one of the many Final Fantasy crossover Key’s in the series, young me (who’d never played that series at that point) was confused on this one’s relevance to the overall plot of Kingdom Hearts 2. Here came these three fairy woman who randomly bestowed you a new Keyblade after the grand epic that was the battle of 1000 Heartless. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth though, because this happens to be one of the weakest Keyblades in the game (though it does manage to nab you an EXP boost if you can actually kill with it). Pair that with a mishmash of design elements from hilt all the way up to the teeth and you have a keyblade that seems a bit confused at the end of the day. More confused that young me was when I found out one of the fairies was also named Riku- err, Rikku.
Number 60: Moogle O’ Glory
I’m a believer that Final Fantasy hasn’t disappeared from Kingdom Hearts nearly as much as people claim it has. Final Fantasy is more than a Sephiroth boss fight. However it is undeniable that the amount of up front cameos have decreased significantly nowadays.
Thankfully the most important cameo has remained though: Moogles! Moogles are the greatest thing ever and Kingdom Hearts needs to keep them around. Somehow despite these creatures being around since the very first game it took all the way until UX for us to receive a Moogle-themed Keyblade.
That brings us to the Moogle O’ Glory! This keyblade has a really clever design with the top of the handle being an opened treasure chest that extends into the blade which is made to represent the light effect that happens whenever you open a chest. Finally the teeth of the blade are a Moogle that you can smack enemies around with! It’s a very good design that deserves this spot on the tier list.
Number 61: Wishing Star
It’s interesting how the general design of Pinnochio’s Monstro world could easily lend itself to a boring purple and blue Keyblade multiple times in the series, though KH1 subverted this right off the bat. Wishing Star, instead of being based in fish guts and random prison heartless, instead draws inspiration from Gepetto’s wreaked ship as he was going to rescue the wooden boy from the great whale, Monstro. Simple yet effective, it still manages to stand out among similar Key’s in the same world or even the same game.
Number 62: Sign of Innocence
This is it! The final 358/2 Keyblade that I’m being forced to talk about! After this, I’m free forever!
Sign of Innocence is probably the best implementation of the 358 syndrome of designing keyblades to have the Nobody Emblem in their teeth. Not only does this keyblade have a 3/4th completed emblem with the right side forming the part of the teeth that hits enemies, but it has a really cool pink and purple color scheme that makes it stand out pretty well against the others in this game.
Overall, 358 had the worst keyblades in the series but at least it’s going out on a B-tier weapon.
Number 63: Divine Rose
A keyblade obtained from the Beauty and the Beast world in KH1- wait no, the library of a completely original world that Belle happens to be in and awaiting Sora, Divine Rose suffers from will be known here on out as “KH1 syndrome”. That is, underdesigned but not in a “more is less” sort of way, but rather in the feeling of “something is missing” way. With Divine Rose, while the flower is a great way of showing the teeth of the Key, is a textbook example of this, and shows how the series got more comfortable in the sweet spot of design in the games that follow.
Number 64: Wayward Wind
Rounding off the starting keyblades of the Birth By Sleep trio we’ve got Ventus’ Wayward Wind keyblade!
Wayward Wind is very unique in that it is the only keyblade in the series designed to be held and swung backwards. Although Ventus wields all of his keyblades in the same way this is the only one that appears designed for that.
With a half handle for easy grip leading into a very thin blade and some very strange looking teeth I think it’s fair to say that Ventus’ starting keyblade is easily the most unique of the Birth By Sleep trio.
I feel this keyblade does a pretty good job at showing off Ventus’ personality as well. He’s a pure kid stepping out into the world for the first time. Similar to Terra he isn’t one to think hard about things but also isn’t going to smack things to hell and back like Terra. So a short blade designed for some quick, light strikes is perfect for him.
It’s also strangle enough the only one without a direct upgrade later in the game, but we’ll talk about that more a bit later.
Number 65: Photon Debugger
Has anyone seen the movie Tron? No, no,no, yes…I mean no. Photon Debugger was the data Keyblade (before, that is, Re:coded’s single weapon contribution to the series) and it…got the job done. It is directly inspired by Space Paranoid’s blue and black data storage aesthetic, and features Tron’s own memory disc to top off the head. Is the implication that we stole a vital part of Tron’s identity to take this Keyblade meandering around the world of Kingdom Hearts? I sure hope not. Otherwise there just isn’t enough detail to fully associate this Key with Tron himself.
Number 66: Grand Chef
Right at the exact halfway point of this list we’ve got a keyblade that I bet most of you didn’t even get. That’s right, I know that you specifically suck at cracking open eggs. For shame!
Yes, to get this keyblade you must get Remy’s bistro to 5 Stars, a task that not only needs a lot of ingredients but also requires you to get really good at the cooking minigame. I did it once and I’ll never do it again.
Design wise this keyblade is pretty cool! The blade of the keyblade is the Eiffel Tower leading into the teeth which take the form of Remy’s restaurant sign from the end of his movie. Below all of this is the handle which is composed of wine bottles and a Keychain that is a recipe book. Symbolizing that all of Paris is held up by good cooking.
Hey isn’t it odd that Sora has been to multiple versions of Paris but when we finally did Ratatouille it was in none of them?
Anyway, pretty rad keyblade but there are plenty better ones so it just goes into higher B-tier.
Number 67: Guardian Soul
The cold, hardened badass of FFX, Auron, who this Keyblade is themed around, is one of the more prolific Final Fantasy characters to make their cameo from the game’s sister series. Being based on the Masamune, one of the strongest weapons Auron can wield in his home game, Guardian Soul has the cool factor absolutely cranked up to 11. We do wish the blade was a bit more detailed instead of just being a monochrome magenta, though maybe simplicity suits this guy more than an overcomplicated design ever would.
Number 68: Dual Disc
Hey remember how one of our main complaints with the Photon Debugger keyblade was how it had next to nothing to actually do with Tron? This keyblade fixes that problem entirely!
This keyblade is designed after what is easily the most iconic part of the Tron movies: the light cycles! The handle of this keyblade is one of the wheels of said cycle with the blade leading into the other wheel where the teeth of the keyblade form via a laser fired by the bike.
It’s a very clever way of turning this piece of film memorabilia into a keyblade and is much better than Photon Debugger.
Number 69: Lady Luck
One of the first keyblades to break “KH1 Syndrome”, Lady Luck is the Keyblade given to Sora after completing Wonderland in the first game. Rather than being underdesigned to the point of obscuring the world, this Keyblade always reminded me of a fencing stick with a heart acting as the teeth. This design, while also simple, is to the point and a design that is ultimately fitting to the world of Alice in Wonderland.
Originally me and Victiny wanted to drop one huge, novel sized article on you for D23 day but unfortunately Covid struck me really hard this week. I was unable to even get out of bed for most of the week, let alone write. So this is going to need to be our stopping point for now, 69 out of 139 ranked.
This won’t be the end though! Once I have regained my health, me and my partner will reunite and finish this tier list! We have nothing but great keyblades remaining and many thoughts to share about all of them! So keep your eyes on The Story Arc as we will be back in the future with the second half of this tierlist!
To give you a final send off here is a tier list of the 69 keyblades we talked about in this article!